Kim Sengupta / The Independent & Felicity Arbuthnot / Global Research – 2012-12-13 00:51:07
Exclusive: UK Military in Talks to Help Syria Rebels
International coalition could offer air and sea support as well as military training
Kim Sengupta / The Independent
(December 11, 2012) — The prospect of Western intervention comes as opposition groups, which have been disorganised and divided, at long last formed an umbrella political group and a command structure for their militias. Their foreign backers are said to believe that the 22-month-long civil war has now reached a tipping point and it has become imperative to offer help to the revolutionaries to enable them to make a final push against the regime.
The head of Britain’s armed forces, General Sir David Richards, hosted a confidential meeting in London a few weeks ago attended by the military chiefs of France, Turkey, Jordan, Qatar and the UAE, and a three-star American general, in which the strategy was discussed at length. Other UK government departments and their counterparts in allied states in the mission have also been holding extensive meetings on the issue.
The commanders’ conference was held at the request of the Prime Minister, according to senior Whitehall sources. David Cameron is said to be determined that more should be done by Britain to bring to an end the bloody strife, which has claimed 40,000 lives so far and made millions homeless.
One key concern is the onset of winter, with 2.5 million people inside Syria needing help and 1.5 million internally displaced by the fighting, according to the UN. More than 100,000, it is estimated, will be gathering at borders with neighbouring states which are already hosting refugees and refusing to take them in.
There is also a growing belief among the Western backers of the opposition that intervention in some form is necessary now to influence the future political shape of Syria. Jihadist groups among the rebels, some like Jabhat al-Nusra linked to al-Qa’ida, have steadily gained in power and influence because of their access to weapons and money coming from the Gulf states putting more secular groups at a severe disadvantage.
The Obama administration is considering proscribing Al-Nusra as a terrorist organisation, making it illegal for American citizens to fund it and sending a warning message to Arab states not to back it. At the same time Western help will be directed at and strengthen the moderate groups. The unified rebel command structure set up in Turkey, at the behest of the US and UK, has excluded the Islamist militias.
Britain, France and the US have agreed that none of their countries would have “boots on the ground” to help the rebels. The training camps can be set up in Turkey. However, the use of air and maritime force would, in itself, be highly controversial and likely to lead to charges that, as in Libya, the West is carrying out regime change by force.
Furthermore, any such military action will have to take place without United Nations authorisation, with Russia and China highly unlikely to back a resolution after their experience over Libya where they agreed to a “no-fly zone” only to see it turn into a NATO bombing campaign lasting months.
The plan will also draw accusations that the decision to station NSTO Patriot missile defence systems at the Syrian border, at the request of Turkey, was, in reality, to camouflage intervention. The US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Foreign Secretary William Hague and the alliance’s Secretary-General, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, had all insisted at a meeting in Brussels last week that the deployment was a purely defensive measure.
British defence sources maintain that Ankara would have made the request even without the plan to aid the rebels. Neither Germany nor the Netherlands, which will be deploying the Patriots, have been part of the secret Syria talks.
There has been a steady flow of briefings from the US that the Damascus regime is readying its stock of chemical weapons. Ms Clinton stated that a desperate Assad may resort to such an attack, while President Obama has warned of a “red line” on chemical weapons, saying the use of them will not be tolerated.
However, there is a growing belief that the Russians, who had steadfastly backed the regime, are now reconciled to a future Syria without Assad. Officials in Ankara say that a visit by President Putin and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov to Turkey last week went extremely well.
Speaking in Istanbul, President Putin said: “We are not lawyers for the Syrian leadership’s actions; we are concerned with other things, namely what will happen in the future.”
British and American officials say that the Kremlin’s concerns about chaos following the departure of Assad, with jihadists emerging in control, is shared by governments in the West and Russian help will be needed in averting a bloody endgame.
Intervention, they say, is now inevitable. Le Figaro newspaper has reported that French military advisers have met rebel groups just across the Lebanese border. The US is said to have stockpiled weapons retrieved in Libya for future supply to Syria.
One senior Whitehall official said: “The efforts have so far been unco-ordinated without any focused objective. If this is worth doing, then it is worth doing professionally; training the FSA and providing them with air and maritime support when necessary.
“Obviously there are risks involved in such a mission, but there is enough capability to accomplish this.
“We are aware of the Russian view. We know that Syria is an important strategic ally for them. But it will not remain an ally if the jihadists take over after Assad goes, we are sure they realise this. We still hope they can persuade Assad to leave and an agreement can be formed on the future of the country.”
Secret Meeting in London:
Plotting to Wage War on Syria Without UN Authorization
Felicity Arbuthnot / Global Research
Somewhere between being awarded the Nobel Peace Prize and the consolidating farce of the presentation in Oslo yesterday, recipients were plotting another freedom and democracy bringing “humanitarian intervention”, illegal regime change and the destruction of a country in order to save it.
(December 11, 2012) — Remember Libya was “not going to be another Iraq” disaster, “lessons have been learned”? Libya’s ruined towns and social structure of course, chillingly resemble Iraq. Now, it is Syria’s turn, but Syria will “not be another Libya”, yes mistakes were made, but lessons have yet again been learned.
Today’s (London) Independent cover story reports the: “plan for (the) international coalition to provide air and naval support, plus military training for the opposition”, commenting that :”Western intervention is now deemed necessary as civil war has reached ‘tipping point’ ” and of course: “Britain, France and US agree ‘no boots on the ground.’ ”
This is the outcome of a secret meeting in London recently, hosted by Sir David Richards, who heads Britain’s armed forces. Participants in the scheming were: “the military chiefs of France, Turkey, Jordan, Qatar, the UAE and” (surprise) “a three star American General.” The paper records: “Strategy was discussed at length”, with other UK government Ministries “and their counterparts in allied states” also holding meetings – read plotting another overthrow of massive illegality, of a sovereign leader and government.
“L’Angleterre, ah, la perfide Angleterre …” is an expression regarding Britain believed to go back as far as the 13th century relating to acts of “duplicity, treachery and infidelity” in relations with other nation states, states Wiki neatly.
Prime Minister Cameron is determined to involve Britain in more bloodshed, having learned nothing from his disastrous involvement in Libya — sorry, he is: ” … determined that more should be done by Britain to bring an end to the strife ….” That would be a first, and of course Foreign Secretary Hague (“I have been a Conservative Friend of Israel since I was sixteen”) has long been stating that Britain must arm the insurgents and pledging considerable sums to do so.
Seemingly it was blithely decided at the meeting that since “boots on the ground” ie., another illegal invasion is to be excluded (we’ll see) “training camps can be set up in Turkey” for the terrorists.
The use of air power and maritime forces, it was thought would be likely to lead to “charges that, as in Libya, the West is carrying out regime change by force.” Quite.
“Mission creep” is already writ large.
Further, a “senior Whitehall official” is quoted as saying: “If this is worth doing , then it is worth doing professionally; training the Free Syrian Army and providing them with air and maritime support.”
The conclusion is that another murderous intervention is: “now inevitable.” French military advisers have apparently met insurgent groups in Lebanon and: “The US is said to have stockpiled weapons retrieved in Libya for future supply” to the insurgents.
The action, as Iraq, is planned to go ahead without UN authorization, since that would in near certainty be blocked by China and Russia on the Security Council.
One multi-million dollar question remains, will Russia and China sit quietly on the sidelines and allow another bloodbath and overthrow, having been so comprehensively duped over Libya?
Oh, and will there be another hapless Ambassador Christopher Stevens type, landing with a contingency of US-armed thugs, from a cargo ship laden with weapons and equipment, or have America’s “diplomats” been overcome with a derring-do deficit after the terrible events of Benghazi on 11th September?
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